Asbestos The Hidden Killer

As asbestos was used in new building construction up until 1999 there is still a lot of it about. It was commonly used for making such things as gutters, drain pipes, ceiling tiles, insulation boards, pipe and boiler lagging and sprayed coatings on walls and steel joists.

If you are planning to do any repair or refurbishment work you must be sure whether or not asbestos is present. Materials should not be presumed as free of asbestos unless there is very strong evidence.

Managing Asbestos

Owners, occupiers and people managing premises must comply with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 (CAR 2006). To do this they must put in place a management plan to manage the risk from the presence of asbestos where it has been identified or presumed to be present.

There are now two types of survey; a management survey or a refurbishment/demolition survey. The management survey should establish the location, the amount and condition of any asbestos containing materials, (ACMs) and a register with plans be kept up to date to record any inspection, maintenance or removal of ACMs. It is also important to record if no asbestos is found.

The asbestos management plan is based on risk assessment and will determine:

  • Whether the ACMs need only be monitored if they are in good condition
  • If they should be repaired or removed when damaged
  • How the ACMs will be managed in terms of staff training, management of contractors and maintenance work, maintaining the register and complying with CAR 2006.

A refurbishment or demolition survey is carried out to locate and, if reasonably practicable, describe all ACMs in the area where the work will take place. The specific requirement under CAR 2006 is that all ACMs should, as far as reasonably practicable, be removed prior to refurbishment or demolition.

All work on ACMs must be done by licensed asbestos contractors unless the ACMs have a low asbestos content. Then the work can be done by someone with the required training as set out in the Approved Code of Practice "Work with materials containing asbestos", basic asbestos awareness training is not enough.

By leematthews in Newsletters